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Letters to the Editor: 6-6-2013

DECLINE GRAVEL PERMIT

On June 11, the Lane County Board of Commissioners will have a hearing to help determine whether the board should review the Lane County hearing official’s decision to deny Delta Sand and Gravel a special use permit to mine gravel on land that is zoned for exclusive farm use.

The hearings official carefully spelled out in his 20 page findings that Delta’s application for a special use permit did not meet the requirements under law for approval. Unlike the hearings official and members of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, Lane County commissioners are not specialists in interpreting law. 

This case is important to both the applicant, Delta, and to the residents of the Santa Clara community who oppose mining in their neighborhood. It does not, however, possess countywide significance, a requirement for the Board of Commissioners to review the case. Recently the commissioners declined to review the Parvin Butte mining decisions; it would be reasonable for them also to decline review in this case.

The board can save county resources by declining to review this application for a special use permit, and relying on the findings of the impartial hearings official. 

Joel Narva, Santa Clara

TAKING SHELTER

I talked to a homeless man who spends his nights at the Mission and asked him what he thought about the place. His main comment was that the Mission is too crowded and noisy. He can’t concentrate well enough to read because of the noise level. He said they’re putting mattresses on the floor to accommodate all the people staying there. The food has gotten worse and they no longer give them donuts in the morning, which matters to him because he’s about 50 pounds underweight. 

The Mission no longer allows them to pay $2 per might, but requires an hour and a half of work. This is a problem for him if he has to do it in the morning because he needs to get out of there for his “semi-job” selling The Motivator homeless newspaper. He said the men have to line up for the showers because there aren’t enough of them, and he doesn’t like the lack of privacy in taking showers.

He said every high school student should spend a night at the Mission to motivate them to do whatever they have to so they don’t become homeless.

Most of this would probably apply to any mass homeless shelter. It’s a whole lot better than having people outside in the rain and cold, but individual micro-housing, such as is planned for Opportunity Village Eugene, is a better idea. Gives people some privacy, the ability to be alone, less regimented.

The problem I see with the Village is that it requires an enormous amount of planning by volunteers, and wading through the city’s bureaucracy. The planning and organization required take a long time. The Village will probably be great for its residents, but I think what SLEEPS has in mind, smaller camps spread around the city, may work for more people. Needs to be kept simple, so that it doesn’t need so much organization. The City Council has just begun to discuss this, with input from SLEEPS. We’ll see how it goes.

Lynn Porter, Eugene

 

COUGARS ON CHARADE

EW should be commended for its investigative article “Predatory Nonprofit?” [5/16] detailing how the NRA and Safari Club International are funding a push to kill Oregon’s cougars with packs of dogs. In 1994 Oregon voters passed Measure 18 which made it illegal to chase cougars with hounds. This law has been a resounding success and no cougars have hurt anyone! But a small group of trophy hunters wants to undo this law so they can wipe out cougars. 

Oregon’s voters should be outraged that such a self-serving small group is openly coercing the Legislature into undoing a voter-supported law that protects Oregon’s wildlife. The Legislature should not listen to scare tactics or allow themselves to be bullied by special interest groups 

That article in EW blows the top off the Oregon Outdoor Council’s little charade. We see this questionable nonprofit for what it is: a cover for national and international groups like the NRA who have unlimited resources and aren’t afraid to throw their weight around.

Legislators should beware of anything the OOC does — a group has to be pretty disreputable in order to have their own treasurer turn them into the attorney general’s office! The charges against the OOC administrators are very serious.

The OOC is a facade created by trophy hunters just two years ago, whereas the conservation groups that have repeatedly stood up for the cougars are reputable organizations like the Humane Society, Predator Defense, ForestWeb, Cascadia Wildlands and the Oregon Cougar Action Team.

OOC is trying to do a brazen end-run around the will of Oregon’s voters; the Legislature needs to stand up to their intimidation. Learn more at orecat.org and send a “No on HB 2624” email to your senators!

Cat Koehn, Eugene

 

MATTHEWS FOR COMMISH

Kevin Matthews is just the sort of person we need to bring a fresh voice to the County Commission race. When I heard Kevin speak at the first “Conversations on the Forest” event, I was impressed by his articulate and well-constructed arguments while discussing forest economics and ecology. Since then, I have gotten to know Kevin has a colleague and as a friend. He is diligent in his volunteer work as a community organizer and dedicated to improving life in Lane County. Kevin will bring new ideas to the table and open up a discussion to find real solutions to our county’s economic problems. I, for one, am glad he’s decided to step up to this challenge and will enthusiastically support his efforts.

Cristina Hubbard, Cottage Grove

 

GETTING IT TOGETHER

Last fall I was encouraged, urged really, by well-respected friends and colleagues to attend a Paul Cienfuegos workshop. I visited his website paulcienfuegos.com and while intrigued, I was skeptical. In the end, I went and became fully engaged in a new way of looking at “democracy.” Paul is a seasoned educator with a fresh perspective and a deep historical understanding which sheds light on current governmental/corporate dysfunction. Please come see for yourself from 6 to 9 pm Thursday, June 13, at LCC’s Building 17, Room 308. The only way to get it together is together.

Michelle Holman, Deadwood

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cienfuegos is also planning a Florence workshop June 14 at a time and place TBA.

 

AUDITOR IS A WASTE

What I’ve experienced with the Eugene police auditor’s office is a waste of time and money. You would think they are supposed to defend the general public and their complaints against the police, which is just the opposite. All they do is defend the police and the present auditor, Mark Gissiner, who was accused by former auditor Cris Beamud of shredding a lot of files, which he shouldn’t have been doing. It’s time to eliminate the auditor’s office and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Phil Swaggart, Eugene

 

TEACH THE CHILDREN

Thank you for the excellent interview with Kathleen Deane Moore [5/30] on the urgent need for immediate action on climate change. When the woman interviewing her stated she had to drive out of state for a soccer tournament, I was reminded of a suggestion I made at a sustainable planning roundtable that kids only play teams in their neighborhoods rather than drive for hours to complete with the comparable skilled teams; they could trade players to make it a good game. I was laughed at, of course. Don’t mess with kids’ sports! 

I also made the suggestion that we turn out street lights (starlight city nights) and office building lights after 2 am or have motion detection lights only. Not only would these ideas save energy, pollution and help mitigate climate change, they would also save money for the schools and city. Aren’t they having financial difficulties? 

Let’s teach our children about prioritizing what’s most important, making sacrifices for the good of all, global citizenship and moral integrity. A good start would be to work on saving our forests from the planned clear-cutting of 1.5 million acres of federal forests by private timber industry. A carbon tax/fee would help to get us going in the right direction.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter

 

PARTY SMARTER

Hey, university kids: I, like you, enjoy a crazy party, wild adventures (aka drunken walks through the street with friends) and loudly declaring my overwhelming love of the present. We are in our 20s and ready to live life like we are never turning 30. I get it, I really do. 

As we tromp through these formative years of tequila shots and fuzzy memories we need to remember one thing: Discretion is freedom. You don’t want the cops coming to your party? Don’t be that house with three-dozen cans of Miller Lite on the front lawn for a week. Don’t smash your glass bottles in the alleys and streets where bikers are going to run over them and pop their tires. Did you ever think someone might fall and injure themselves on that pile of glass? Trust me, it’s happened. 

When people are angry they complain. When people get hurt they complain. When the neighborhood is covered in trash, people notice and then they complain. When enough people complain action is taken. Clean up and be a good example; seriously, there are proper receptacles everywhere. 

School is stressful and it is so incredibly necessary to blow off steam and have a good time. By all means party hard, but please, party smart too. 

Rebecca Gibson, Eugene

 

SPARE THAT TREE

 About 10 years ago the city of Eugene planning office thoughtlessly approved a conditional use permit allowing UO to construct a new daycare center at 17th Avenue and Moss Street. Fairmount Neighbors appealed the decision but the UO was allowed to build there anyway. The permit contract forbid UO from removing any roots or coming within 35 feet of a nearby historic ponderosa pine. UO sent workers who removed nearly half the root system and dug deeply less than 10 feet from the tree. Sprinklers were installed there to flood the tree and water some scrappy shrubs planted next to the daycare center.

UO has now posted the ailing ponderosa with a sign declaring it a hazard and stating that it will soon be removed. This is not permitted. The city has been contacted. UO will be receiving notice soon from Eugene about what the UO is required to do. UO needs to shut down the daycare sprinkler system immediately. The ponderosa may survive if the flooding of what is left of the root system ceases. UO is trying to purposely destroy the heritage tree to enable greater flexibility for future redevelopment next to the daycare center. 

I used to go to the Moss Street daycare center. UO and the city of Eugene teach families around the center an important lesson. Now they know UO planners and a selfish daycare director are threats to a wide variety of living organisms — some over 100 years old. 

UO, turn off your sprinkler system and stop terrorizing life on Moss Street. There is no land for an indoor track in the east campus area. Your creepy mega-donor will have to find a different location. 

 Zachary Vishanoff , Eugene

 

REMEMBER DARFUR

I am a child of immigrants. My father, born in Nuremburg, never completed more than eighth grade and served in the cavalry. He became a labor relations arbitrator, thus pursuing a career of securing equal pay for equal work through unions. To this day, teachers fight to secure their wages and benefits, and when all is said and done, women make just 77 cents to a man’s dollar, which is not fair.

My mother was born near the family farm in Bristol, S.D. She very simply said two things to my sister and me, “You can’t change the weather,” which I really don’t believe, and that she was “crazy for daisies.” Simon and Garfunkel intoned “still crazy after all these years,” and as one who has lived with mild to severe depression over 20-plus years, I can state that 10,000 lux “Happy Lights” from Costco may be your saving grace. Research may well prove craft lights are equally effective in leading men and women back to fine point work.

But in seriousness, although the Dalai Lama brought sun and warmth to the region, we must not forget the people of Darfur. After a hiatus, the Lane County Darfur Coalition is mounting a new campaign in the Willamette Valley to do what we can to bring human rights, peace and justice to the region of the Sudan. Our movement follows the blog of Eric Reeves and Nicholas Kristof.

On this Memorial Day, we mark the lives of all those lost to the genocide. I’ve asked my sister to put sunflowers on our parents’ grave in San Diego. We are immigrants, and we come from good stock.

Martha Sjurson Amberger, Lane County Darfur Coalition

 

THE POWER OF PASSION

The other day my teacher presented my class with a project: Create a poster with your solution to an issue currently in the world. At first, I thought it was just a simple project to boost our grades before the end of the year. We had one class period and that night to finish our posters and present them the next class.

As we sat around in a community circle (my teacher insisting that everyone’s face could be viewed), my classmates and I began expressing our solutions to what we thought was wrong. Our topics varied from animal rights and the standardized education system, to simply accepting people. I realized as everyone spoke on something they were passionate about that my classmates are the future of humanity!

Today, we’re sophomores; before we even realize it, we’ll have the freedom to vote and power to make our voices heard. I don’t understand why we aren’t heard already. Yes, a lot of teenagers couldn’t care less about powerful topics that need solutions. But for every student who doesn’t care, there are three who do — they just don’t believe that anyone gives a crap about what they think. 

I’ve always been an outspoken person, unafraid to speak my voice and explore things I’m passionate about. What about all of those other students? A lot of the ideas my classmates had were more powerful than I imagined would come out of people I’ve barely heard speak before.

What I’m getting to boils down to giving people the chance. Next time you doubt a teenager on their mental capacity for passion, or any human being for that matter, give them the chance to prove their passion. Give them a chance to express their thoughts. Give them a chance to be accepted. Give them a chance to change the world.

Maia Shave, Churchill High School

 

EXCITING YEAR AHEAD

 I want to say how much I appreciate all the help I received during my campaign, from the endorsements at the levels of state, county, Florence and Eugene. I also thank my acquaintances and friends. My local campaign team here in Florence was exceptional, consisting of five team members. 

I would also like to thank the Democratic Party for their endorsement, as well as The Register-Guard and Eugene Weekly. It is only through those types of endorsements that a campaign runs so smoothly.

The college is looking forward to an exciting year. We have a major foundation campaign coming on board, which includes making exceptional changes in our Center Building on Main Campus. It will bring the building up to modern times, with the students in mind. It will provide areas for studying, more accessible higher technology, better classrooms and outside gathering places for students. The Culinary Arts program will also be included in the campaign for new and exciting programs.

We are also looking toward having our downtown center up and running at full capacity and also filling all of the housing this year. It is currently budget time and we are working our way through less state funding with trying to not have any cuts in programs and staff. 

The Florence campus continues to thrive and make adjustments as opportunities present themselves. We have an active Advisory Board that is considering the local business needs and figuring out what our high school students need for transitioning on to Lane

And lastly I’d like to thank the voters, who I believe made the right choice for a committed, logical and loyal board member for the LCC Board of Education for the next four years. I will try my best to serve the needs of the students, faculty, classified staff and the public. 

Sharon Stiles, Florence

 

CHINESE JERKY JUNK

Please allow me to warn readers that if they feed their dogs jerky treats that were made in China, they may be unwittingly feeding their beloved companions poison. Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has received thousands of complaints about dogs suffering diarrhea, vomiting and kidney failure, and even dying after eating the treats.

In April, FDA inspectors went to China but were not allowed to test samples of the jerky treats. They also learned that Chinese factories are not testing samples for contamination. Although the FDA has issued multiple warnings about feeding these treats, the jerky treat manufacturers have not issued a voluntary recall for these potentially toxic products and the FDA has not stopped them from being imported into the U.S. The treats are still on the shelves.

We can protect our animal companions by never giving them treats or food from China (check the package labeling to see where they were made). Apple slices, baby carrots, frozen peas, steamed broccoli, and air-popped popcorn are safe, delicious and healthy dog snacks.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene

 

AN ODE TO EUGENE

There’s a wet spot on the West Coast Just a little bit north of Drain, to the left of San Francisco, where all it does is rain.

We don’t get much thunder or lightning, and rarely does it snow, but our hair grows long and shaggy, to hide the gills below!

It’s starting  to pour again, in Eugene, Oregon! The clouds are rolling in and letting go. You’ll be reborn again in Eugene, Oregon! With webbing ‘tween your fingers and your toes.

We began as Skinner’s Mud-hole And you’ll never wonder why, when your skin turns pale and pasty — and you’re never really dry.

We worship Ducks and Beavers, genuflecting ‘til the last — flash “Yell-O” hand sign. Autumn Saturdays at Autzen are one big baptismal bath!

It’s gonna pour again, in Eugene, Oregon! It’s time for us to say goodbye to sun. Umbrellas scorned again, in Eugene, Oregon! where spring’s rain starts as soon as fall’s are done.

Patchouli oil and pedal power and the Grateful Dead are not. No, they keep on truckin’, Further trailing mushrooms, moss and pot. We love our homeless and our hippies, the best bike path ever seen.

Our dear mayor is a Kitty, And a gastropod our queen!

It’s a downpour again, in Eugene, Oregon! We have free speech and five cent paper sacks. And you can score again, in Eugene, Oregon! ‘cuz the rain keeps all the green crops growing back. Quack, quack, quack, quack, Quack, Quack, QUACK! QUACK!!!

Dave Perham, Eugene